Saturday, 20 April 2019

Czechs want good relations with UK after Brexit, Babiš tells May

30 July 2018

Salzburg, Austria, July 27 (CTK special correspondent) - It is important for Prague to maintain good relations with London after Brexit, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told journalists after his talks with his British counterpart Theresa May in Salzburg on Friday.

"Brexit is not positive for Europe, but it is a fact and we must try to make the damages as small as possible," Babis said.

He said Britain is a traditional Czech ally not from the political and security point of view but also from the business perspective. "We must maintain the relations from the past, 50,000 of Czech people work there, it is important for our trade," he said.

Babis said about 20 percent of the EU-British deal on Brexit still needed to be negotiated. He recalled that some issues have not been closed yet, mainly the problem with the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said after meeting May in Salzburg that he hoped that agreement would be reached by October.

Austria presides over the Council of the European Union in the second half of this year. It took over the presidency from Bulgaria which took it over from Estonia. Estonian PM Juri Ratas was present in Salzburg, too. Babis also had bilateral talks with Kurz and Ratas on Friday.

Babis said he believes that the talks May had with her European partners in Salzburg would help in the further negotiations on Brexit. "It is not pointless," he said.

Babis said the EU main negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, negotiates according to the instructions from individual EU member countries and all the countries comment on it.

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